By Christina Bertelli, certified herbalist
Red Clover has a vibrant purple flower and is prolific from mid-summer to early fall along roadsides and in meadows with rocky soil. This common plant, also called purple clover, cow clover, meadow clover, or bee-bread, is medicinally quite special. Red Clover is a highly nutritive plant with significant amounts of calcium, magnesium, chromium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C. This gives it the potential to act as a deeply nourishing tonic for anyone wanting to build their bones or strengthen their overall nutritional reserves. For centuries, Red Clover has been an herb of choice for women wanting to promote fertility.
Recently, we have been discovering that disease states often have nutritional deficiencies at the root, which makes Red Clover a supportive measure for a variety of conditions. Red Clover has also been found to prevent benign prostate hyperplasia, to calm upper respiratory spasms, promote arterial elasticity, prevent blood clotting, balance cholesterol and to delay bone loss due to osteoporosis.
I like Red Clover's alkalinizing quality and its ability to rebalance the system after I have eaten a disagreeable meal, a food allergen, or too much sugar. Herbalists call it an alterative because it clears away metabolic wastes in between the cells, thus altering and purifying the blood. This property makes it a great skin-brightening herb! I recommend the following tea as a recipe for spring-cleaning your liver and your skin. You can also use Red Clover as a topical herbal compress for psoriasis and eczema, or as recommended by Susan Weed, add the fresh blossoms to your salad! Check out our "Healthy Skin, Inside Out" class for more information on April 20th!
Preparations & Applications
Infusion: 1-2 Tablespoons per 1cup water. Pour boiling water over the herb and cover, let infuse for 4 hours. Fomentation/Compress: Make an infusion of 1oz herb to 1 quart water. Soak a washcloth in the tea and apply locally to irritated skin.
Spring Cleaning Tea
2 T. Red Clover
1 T. Cleavers
1 T. Nettles
2 tsp. Peppermint
2 tsp. Dandelion Root
1/2 tsp. Licorice
Add to bottom of quart size Mason jar, pour boiling water over herbs and let infuse overnight. Strain in morning and drink whole quart each day for 2-6 weeks.
Herbal Vade Mecum by Gazmend Skenderi
Wise Women Herbal for the Childbearing Year by Susan Weed